One of the things that I get the most emails about is the way that I get regular editing work for photographers. As I’ve mentioned before, I own a business that specializes in doing outsourced editing known as Editing Hive. I do editing for portrait and wedding photographers across the United States and love what I do.
If you aren’t aware, more and more photographers are being urged to outsource their editing. It turns out that some of these celeb-photographers are really preaching this gospel and talented editors are reaping the rewards. I launched into doing this about two years ago and now have a regular clientele who engages me for editing work.
You may not be interested in launching a fulltime editing business, but it’s great seasonal work and may be an opportunity that you’re interested in. I’ve learned a few things in launching my business, so today I want to take some time and share some of the things that my business has taught me.
Customer Service Comes First
I can’t stress this enough, regardless of the freelance work that you’re doing with. Customer service doing freelance work is different than customer service working for the fast food restaurant down the street. There’s no manual or set of rules to follow, and you have to be innovative.
If I think an edit will take me a week, I tell the client two weeks and blow them away when it’s done in five days. Every image gets careful treatment. Things are backed up and delivered quickly.
Customer service isn’t something that you can figure out overnight. The key is to be super considerate and think of your client’s needs, always. Sometimes that means waiting on them to drop off a drive. Sometimes that means getting a drive at 10PM at night so that they can get the images when they need them. Do they need a Lightroom catalog or finished JPEG’s? All of these are thoughts you’ll have to consider and account for.
If you don’t keep a client happy, you won’t get asked to do more work. But more importantly, keeping clients happy is the key to having your name spread to other people who want to hire you.
Network and Share Benefits
When you’re meeting with clients and offering your services, it’s so essential that you tell them about their potential benefits. Marketers go wrong when they hit on their own advantages and forget what the client needs. You want to stress the fact that you can help them catch up on editing and get things out the door.
How do you land that first meeting though? If you want to get in the game, you have to think of where the photographers in your area are going to be. Meetups, conferences, workshops, camera clubs – you have to spend some time doing your homework and finding out where the big professionals hang out.
Keep in mind that there might not be a lot of photographers in your area who need your services. Outsourcing editing isn’t what every mom and pop photographer needs. These types of services are for the big shooters who have work every weekend and are too busy meeting with clients, designing albums, and booking more gigs to edit thousands of images. The bulk of my work comes during wedding season in the summers.
Be Willing to Revise
This kind of falls under the “customer service” talk, but I can’t stress enough that you need to be flexible with clients and offer to revise things that they aren’t happy with. It takes time to build the relationship with the photographers you work with and edit the way that they want their images.
One of my biggest flaws is that I take my work very seriously, and often times will take it personally. It takes setting aside your ego and being willing to accept criticism. At the end of the day, it’s important to stress to clients that you’re willing to tweak and get things just right.
It’s not an easy road to get into editing for other people. It can be stressful to work out the logistics of handing off drives, and it takes a talented editor to handle this line of work. However, I think that following the tips above is a great way to kick off doing editing work. Give it a shot and see where it takes you.
What do you think of doing outsourced editing? Have you ever done work for other photographers? Check in with a comment to let me know what you think.